Monday, 30 October 2017

Star Wars Snowspeeder - Bandai 1/48 Scale Plastic Model Kit [Completed]

A sense of awe and wonderment is etched into my childhood memories of time spent poring over images of the Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) crew at work. These behind-the-scenes model makers were, dare I say it, chief contributors to the success of the Star Wars franchise. For sure the efforts of ILM's cameraman, optical technicians, etc. are all necessary components of a whole. But at its core, the original Star Wars trilogy was all about the models and how it could transport viewers (young and impressionable or otherwise) into a universe in a galaxy far, far away.  

Wedge Antilles in the pilot's seat of an modified Incom T-47 Airspeeder
What about Wes Janson? Well he's in the cockpit too albeit seated on the back gunnery seat

So here I am, four decades since those days of wide-eyed innocence, still trying to recreate that feeling through scale model kits. Not in a million years could I ever hold a candle to these model-making geniuses. Attempts to mimic what they had done in the past is just the sincerest form of flattery on my part. A homage to the greats of ILM Model Shop if you will.   

Wedge in a money shot moment ala Lt.Pete "Maverick" Mitchell
Upper left air brake flap deployed ... initiate banking turn to the left

I have often repeated this personal modelling mantra, perhaps once too often, that a scale model kit is only as good as its figures. To me everything falls apart if the miniature figurines aren't given their due. In many cases, more time and effort is actually given to the figures than the vehicle itself. A slight bias on my part? That's likely because figure painting is my strong suit. But it's undeniable that in general, one's eye will always be drawn to the figures first before panning to their surroundings. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that painting Wedge and Wes was the most time consuming for me.      

Now this is getting silly ... another shot of Wedge? Thought Janson as he fiddled with the tow cable controls.
Lower hull exposed as the snowspeeder banks to the left
Finally, a photographic closeup of Wes "Good Shot" Janson
Decals around the main thrust nozzles aren't entirely accurate for a Wedge-piloted snowspeeder

One dislike I do have for Bandai Star Wars scale model kits is the plastic display stand that usually accompanies the 'in mid-flight' models. Its thickness and opacity detracts somewhat from the illusion of a craft in mid-flight. Bandai should have made the display stand using acrylic or clear plastic. No doubt that would've added to the overall kit cost, which is likely why Bandai didn't go down that route. Anyway, discerning collectors could always buy aftermarket display stands for the kit. Meanwhile, the base is functional enough. In this instance, it was painted to simulate snow on Hoth.

Bandai Star Wars 1/48 Scale Snowspeeder sans clear parts recreating the lasers
Pure whites of the snow base provide sharp contrast for the off-whites of the snowspeeder hull
Pilot closeups and this overhead view are some of my favourite viewing angles of the snowspeeder  

Weathering was kept relatively light. Those of you who know my work well would know that I usually keep weathering as light as I can in order to preserve the original paint job. Heavy weathering has its uses but only if the diorama or vignette dictates it to be so. For example, if the snowspeeder was a long abandoned craft then heavy weathering would certainly be justified. In this particular display setting, I weathered the snowspeeder to reflect well maintained craft with normal operational wear and tear. Also, no significant snow deposits were added as the snowspeeder was in mid-flight.

No tow cable was deployed in this display version; just a personal preference
Snowspeeder is executing a leftwards banking turn
'Snow' on base was painted white with some light shading for shadows

The snowspeeder's pose is based on that of an airborne craft banking to the left. As such I decided on an assembled configuration whereby the upper left and bottom two air brake flaps are deployed. It is also partly inspired by the Battle of Hoth scene in which Janson had just deployed the tow cable and Wedge was piloting the snowspeeder in a leftwards banking turn (see second last photo).

Side view is perhaps the snowspeeder's least flattering of profiles
Thick unwieldy display stand linking the snowspeeder to the base is most visible at this angle
Pose of Wedge's snowspeeder is partly based on this sequence of scenes

Another out-of-the-box issue I have with this kit is the clear plastic recreations of laser shots. They look lame and doesn't in any way enhance the aesthetics of the scale model kit. I just managed one good shot of the 'lasers' in action (see below). Nearly every other time, however, I had failed to get light to reflect off the pair in a way that made them look realistic.

Bandai Star Wars 1/48 Scale Snowspeeder, including clear parts recreating the lasers

Bandai's Star Wars 1/48 scale snowspeeder is an excellent kit which I had great fun building and painting. It's one which I highly recommend. The level of detail Bandai has put into this kit makes it a worthwhile kit for any modeller/painter serious about recreating a piece of Star Wars in your home. I for one can't wait to get started on the next Bandai Star Wars kit. Hint: It's a land-based walker (also my second favourite land vehicle in the franchise) but it also comes with some of Bandai's worse depictions of plastic figurines. More details soon. For now I wish you a good week ahead.


  1. Awesome looking piece FEM! It almost looks like a still from the movies.

  2. It looks fabulous dude. I agree sadly the lasers don't quite look on par with what they do in the movie.

    1. Thank you very much Simon! Yeah, the lasers are pretty lame.

  3. Hats off! This is 12 out of 10. The rebellion is safe in your hands!

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence Suber ... much appreciated.

  4. Fantastic piece & awesome paint-job !

    1. Thank you very much Mario, I'm glad you like it!

  5. Lovely work on a lovely kit FourEyedMonster. :)

    This has been an excellent project to watch as it has unfolded. :)

    1. Thank you for the kind words pulpcitizen :)
      And thanks for sticking around for the boring bits too ^_^

  6. Epic, what a great post, and work!

  7. Excellent piece of work indeed !!

    Congratulations : it's very beautiful !! ^^



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